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The Rachel Maddow Show

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Virginia 34, China 24, Ohio 15, Mr. Romney 10, Obama 8, Joe Biden 6, Us 6, Mitt Romney 5, Romney 5, Alabama 5, America 5, Iams 4, Paul Ryan 4, Richard Mourdock 4, Advair 4, Iowa 4, Chrysler 3, Donald Trump 3, Kinsler 3, Obama Administration 3,
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  MSNBC    The Rachel Maddow Show    News/Business. Politics, pop  
   culture and today's top stories.  

    October 27, 2012
    6:00 - 7:00am EDT  

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american express. welcome in. you want to see something that is inherently, simply, viscerally satisfying. something that you can relax into and wash over you? here you go. >> you endorsed governor romney. >> i did. >> are you in contact with him all the time? >> yes. >> what do you talk about? >> just general. i tell you what, he has a stance on china, which is a country that is ripping our heart out. we do nothing to protect ourselves, that i really like. >> where were these made? >> i don't know where they were made. but they were made some plays. but they're great. it's ties, shirts, cuff links. everything sold at macy's and they're doing great. number one selling tie anywhere in the world. >> these are beautiful ties. >> where are the ties made? the ties are made in china? the ties are made in china.
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>> that look on donald trump's face is worth a million gold plated midtown office towers. that's worth the price of whatever empathetic impulse you have toward your fellow human being donald trump. whatever price you pay in empathetic shame just for the pleasure of seeing his actual shame at having that issue resolved that way on national tv. you do not have to dislike donald trump as a person to be satisfied with seeing this lie of this unraveled. right? i mean because it is a kind of lie implicitly to make it seem in one moment like you're the guy who would be super tough on china, in business terms and economic terms. you're the guy who would stop china from ripping america's heart out while you're the guy who is making his self-branded neckwear in china. that is a kind of lie. in some circles you might refer to that sort of moral pretzeling as hypocrisy.
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if you want to speak more bluntly and spare more syllables it is a kind of lie to portray yourself as bravely standing up for some particular thing, when you don't particularly stand for that thing at all. the same thing happened last month when republican presidential nominee mitt romney held a business roundtable in bedford heights, ohio. he did it a at a plant called american spring wire. american spring wire bills itself as north america's largest manufacturer of valve and commercial quality sprint wire. they also make pc strand. which is prestressed concrete strand. at his visit to american spring wire, mr. romney hammered away at president obama for not being tough on china. not the way that he mitt romney would be tough on china. but the company mr. romney chose for his backdrop that day, the company that he chose to implicitly help make that case so happened to be a poster child for success by president obama in getting tough on china. in 2009 in the first months of
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mr. obama's presidency, american spring wire joined with two other makers of steel wire to ask for help. they said china was unfairly dumping steel wire in the united states market at artificially low prices. they asked for help. under president obama the commerce department said they would investigate and then the commerce department did move to protect american spring wire. they did crack down on china for dumping their underpriced product. thus benefiting american spring wire in exactly the way they had asked to be benefited. they got the help they wanted. a company that was then used as a backdrop for mitt romney saying president obama had not been tough on china. today mr. romney gave a major address on economic policy. this is part of his closing argument for the presidency. he delivered the speech at a company called kinsler construction services. in his speech mr. romney argued that president obama's stimulus had failed to help private companies.
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>> a new stimulus three years after the recession officially ended, that may spare government, but it won't stimulate the private sector than it did four years ago. >> that's what mitt romney said today at kinsler construction services in ames, iowa. you know that blissful moment waiting for the other shoe to drop? you can see david letterman scrutinizing the ties. to look for the tag to see where it's made. you know you're in that moment right now? as noted at think progress today, kinsler construction services benefitted from almost $700,000 from the stimulus that mr. romney says did no good for any companies in the private sector. you can try to make the argument that the stimulus program did not help private businesses even though the evidence shows the opposite is true. but he you're trying to make that false argument, that the stimulus program didn't help any private businesses, as you are standing at a private business that the stimulus helped, that is a particular kind of implicit lie.
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and the rest of us can see that lie as it is unraveled in realtime by reporting. even if you the teller of that particular lie do not seem chastened by the experience of being called out. here's another one. mr. romney spoke yesterday in the town of defiance, ohio. part of why ohio's economy has bounced back is we did not let detroit go bankrupt. as it were. the obama administration bailed out the automobile industry. saved the industry and it has roared back to life and the big three are hiring again. yesterday in defiance, ohio, mitt romney gave that obama administration success story a little mitt romney esque tickle. >> i saw a story today that one of the great manufacturers in this state, now owned by the italians, is thinking of moving all production to china. >> wow. mr. romney saying, hey, don't get too comfy there, ohio, with the obama rescue of the automotive industry. i know it's been better.
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he saved everything here and that's why you have jobs and everything, but don't get too comfy, ohio, i read that they're moving all the jobs working for jeep. they're moving all the jeep jobs to china. he said that in ohio on the campaign trail 12 days before the election. and it is not true at all. the real jeep news that day was actually that chrysler announced it was adding 1100 new jobs in the u.s. here. making jeeps in detroit. jeep grand cherokees. and chrysler says it could hire almost as many people at another plant in warren, michigan. in ohio crisler is investing half a billion dollars in its toledo plant and hiring 1100 workers. but mitt romney got up that said defiance, ohio, and said he read somewhere that jeep is moving all of its production jobs to china. all of them. that's ridiculous. what is he talking about? it's embarrassing for mr. romney, right? why on god's great campaign trail would mitt romney get up in front of 12,000 people in ohio and tell them the auto bailout actually hasn't helped
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you at all. your jobs making jeeps are going to china. i read it somewhere. where's this story he said he read somewhere? we found it. here it is. he was apparently trolling the nether regions of the right-wing press. he found it on a washington examiner blog post, which reported, quote, jeep, an obama favorite, looks to shift production to china. a move that would crash the economy in toledo. is this true? this is not true. this is a conservative blogger's misreading of a bloomberg report that actually was reporting this news for jeep. the bloomberg report was that global demand for jeep has risen to the point where the company can sell more of them in china and it wants to build jeeps for china in china. this is good news for an american company, not bad news. they are not shipping american jobs overseas. this doesn't mean less work for americans. this means they are adding, they are expanding overseas. thanks to the auto bailout, that mitt romney opposed, chrysler stuck around long
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enough to win again. yay! or as mitt romney put it -- >> jeep now owned by the italians, is thinking of moving all production to china. >> i cover campaigns for a living. right? i understand that politicians inflate and conflate and duck and dodge and weave and even dissemble sometimes. that is not what mitt romney is up to here. mitt romney is just flat-out lying to the voters of ohio. and by extension the voters all across america on the basis of something he happened to read in the right-wing blogosphere. his lie is embarrassing, frankly, and it should be unsettling for the rest of the world. imagine him waking up in the lincoln bedroom, checking his twitter feed, and running with whatever he finds there. hey, i read somewhere that russia did a thing. mr. romney is not wising up. he made the same mistake when he tried to say that president obama had not said the word terror when he talked about the benghazi attack in the rose garden a day after the attack.
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the president had, in fact, used that word. but if you read the conservative blogosphere, and the conservative blogosphere only, that never happened. and that apparently was enough of a fact check for mitt romney. that's what he read, so that's what he believes, that's what he tried to use, and what turned out to be a humiliating gotcha attempt that failed before the largest possible audience. right? between 50-something million people watching him fail in a presidential debate. >> i'm the president. and i'm always responsible. and that's why nobody is more interested in finding out exactly what happened than i do. the day after the attack, governor, i stood in the rose garden and i told the american people and the world that we are going to find out exactly what happened. that this was an act of terror. >> it's interesting the president just said something which is that on the day after the attack he went in the rose garden and said that this was an
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act of terror. you said in the rose garden the day after the attack it was an act of terror? it was not a spontaneous demonstration. >> please proceed, governor. >> is that what you're saying? i want to make sure we get that for the record. because it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in benghazi an act of terror. >> get the transcript. >> he did, in fact, sir. let me call it an act of terror. >> can you say that a little louder, candy? >> they never took back the rose garden thing. they never corrected that. after mitt romney said in front of 50 million people, you never said terror. they never took it back when he was proven wrong. they haven't taken back saying jeep is planning on shipping all of its production to china. it's not at all true. said it on the campaign trail, he has not taken it back. they never took it back about the american spring wire factory where he was making the case that president obama hasn't been tough on china. when he's speaking at the company that asks the obama administration to get tough on china and they did and that's, in part, why the company is
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still there. they never took back on the stimulus company. the company that benefited from the stimulus while mr. romney was there talking about how no company benefited from the stimulus. they never take these things back. right? it's okay for your uncle who watches fox news all day, and yells at the tv, to say, i saw that story somewhere. right? but when you want to be president of the united states, you can't keep proving that your first line of intelligence is the suffocating, oxygen-free, right-wing blogosphere and something that you read on a right-wing blog that isn't true ends up going directly into a presidential candidate's speech. stuff is not true just because you read it somewhere. yet twice now in the closing weeks of the campaign we have seen mitt romney operate that way. democrats and the obama campaign believe they see an end game here, connecting these different kinds of romney campaign problems that the romney campaign never corrects itself. the democrats now, you can tell, believe that they can sell the voting public on barack obama as
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the candidate you can trust to tell you the truth and believe what he says against mitt romney as the candidate you cannot trust. integrity has become the democrat's issue now. integrity and trust. after the republican primary the obama campaign was reportedly divided on strategy. they were divided over whether they were going to try to hold mitt romney to the severely conservative positions he had to take in order to win the primary. whether they should try to make him seem like the extreme conservative he declared himself to be in order to get the nomination. the obama campaign was divided between that strategy and whether they were instead going to try to make mitt romney seem like a flip-flopper. human weather vane who would say anything he needed to to get by at that moment. they chose the former. they chose to try to hold him to the conservative positions he took in the primary. now as it comes down to the final vote, mitt romney is abandoning all those positions. from repreductive rights to health reform to his own policies. he's abandoning his own policies in a way that makes all of those
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policies less relevant. those positions themselves have become less relevant. and what has become relevant is his willingness to abandon them. his willingness to walk away from anything, to never mind the record, don't bother correcting it, don't bother being consistent, hope nobody checks, say anything. his integrity is essentially the democrats' closing argument. >> the presidency is all about who's going to fight for the american people every single day, even when you've got to make tough decisions that are unpopular, because you have some compass about what this can be. and during the course of these four years, there are all kinds of mistakes that i have made every single day. but my compass has been true. and i've focused on what's going to be best for the american people. >> my compass has been true. the democrats now in the last 11 days integrity has become the closing argument.
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integrity and trust. joining us is co-host of "the cycle" and senior writer for salon.com. steve, thank you for being here. >> thank you for having me. >> can you close an election on this kind of sell line about trust worthiness and integrity? it is no longer an ideological argument from the democrats. they're essentially saying, judge mitt romney for his character. >> i think it's an experiment. i don't think we know the answer. obviously we will on election day. because what mitt romney is attempting to pull off here is something i don't think we have really seen before in modern politics. this is a move to the middle on the cheap. it's coming late in the campaign. it's rhetorical in nature. it's not substantive in nature. for comparison, think back to 2000. the republicans made a calculation after eight years of clinton that they were too far to the right, and needed to be in the middle for the national election, they needed compassionate conservativeism, to bush they sort of saw their bill clinton.
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but bush spent 1999 developing a real program. later called it big government conservatism. but he had a real plan there to create a greater federal role in education. he had a real plan there for a federal role on prescription drugs. they developed a vision. the republican vision -- >> hence the immigration bill. >> exactly. this is what he ran on in 2000. so there was some real substance there. what mitt romney is doing right here, he was far to the right in the primary. gave the conservative base everything they wanted. in the republican platform. this is one of the most conservative republican platforms we have seen. he did nothing at the convention from a policy standpoint to move away from that. he waited until october 3rd to start in a debate to articulate moderate-sounding outcomes. not policy, but outcomes. things that sound pleasing to moderates that are not backed up. but he's not changed his position on anything that i can really see. i'm struggling to think of a precedent. the idea of you can't trust this guy. the idea you don't want a weather vane being president. if it's ever going to work
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against the candidate it would have to work now because i've never seen one this cheap. >> have you ever seen that particular attack work on another candidate though? the idea that this guy is morally flimsy, substantively useless. he was a chameleon, i'll do whatever needs to be said, and that you can't take him at his word? has that ever been stuck on a candidate in a way that they couldn't slough off? >> it can be stuck on a candidate in the sense it raises their personal negative rating. that's what's happening to romney all year until october 3rd. that was for a variety of reasons. some were gaffes and missteps. he was the first candidate through september of a major party nominee who had a negative personal favorable rating. and i think that clearly was dragging down his support in national polls. why he didn't lead until october 3rd. the wild card here, the change that took place in october, when people -- the biggest statistic that jumps out is people started judging swing voters really started judging romney winner on the economy. he's opened up a high lead over obama on the economy. if that overrides their concerns about his personality and
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character, then there's not much obama can do. but they had luck, you know, with romney's personal negatives before that. so there's potential there. >> i wonder if the -- i was thinking about this with the appearances in ohio. looking at the economic numbers in ohio. of course it's been funny at the personality level to see ohio republican governor john kasich try to talk to ohio about how much things have gotten better under his leadership and have the romney campaign think, shhh, we'd really prefer to say things here are going very badly. as the campaign shrinks down to a small number of swing states and they do have that improving economic numbers, problem as it were, on the republican side, in places like florida and especially in places like ohio, does that change the type of argument they need to make about change? about why mitt romney is the guy who should be trusted to do things differently than barack obama? since under barack obama things are getting better? >> they are hitting a dead end there. kasich basically said things are on the upswing in ohio. to keep it going you need to
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change leadership in washington. that's a strange, kind of incoherent message. it's true if you look at the numbers in ohio and to an extent in wisconsin. certainly in ohio. if you look nationally at where obama has been bleeding support, with whites, especially white guys, not as much in ohio. not nearly as dramatic. you can definitely link that to the economy there, to the bailout there, and i can think it's a small example, the 1988 election. bush versus dukakis, a sea of red on the electoral map. bush won coast to coast. there were three states in the upper midwest, an ocean of red that went democratic. iowa, minnesota and wisconsin. it was because the farm economy collapsed in the mid 1980s. the economy was so much worse there than the rest of the country that they wanted to take it out on the reagan administration. they turned on bush and voted for dukakis. everybody else was going for bush. so i see there's a potential there for kind of a flip of that. the economy is strong in ohio. i can definitely see it would probably explain why obama is
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doing better in ohio than he is nationally. >> steve, thank you for joining us here tonight. do you feel like between now and the election it's essentially just one sprint? do you plan to sleep or take any time off at all? >> i haven't been so far. so why change now? >> thank you. it's a good bet you have not seen the most moving speech by a politician in the last 24 hours. actually it's probably the most moving speech by an american politician in awhile. we have the video tonight. i don't think it's been anywhere else at all. we're going to play it here for you tonight. it's a pretty good chunk of tape. going to play it at length. it's truly emotional stuff. that's coming up on the show tonight. stay with us. [ male announcer ] humana and walmart have teamed up to bring you a low-priced medicare prescription drug plan. ♪
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paul ryan is running for vice president of the united states. why is the man running for president of the united states sending his running mate to places in the united states where the people who are going to decide the election cannot see him? that's ahead.
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as long as longtime indiana senator dick lugar lost his seat in a republican primary to a tea party guy named richard mourdock, as soon as that happened, everybody knew that the democrats had been given an opening to potentially take that indiana senate seat from red to blue. that was before richard mourdock cited god's will to help him explain why he would force a rape victim to give birth against her will. >> even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that god intended to happen. >> later clarified that god didn't intend for you to be
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raped, he just intended that once you were being raped, it would result in your pregnancy. that's the god's will part. since those comments mr. mourdock's democratic opponent joe donnelly has been telling the papers that his internal polling in indiana shows mourdock trailing joe donnelly by seven points. since that polling was given to "the washington post" this morning we know it doesn't account for any effect on the electorate that we might expect from these further comments on rape and what richard mourdock wants to do to rape victims. these further comments made by richard mourdock today in an interview with the local nbc affiliate in terre haute. watch. >> if a woman were to be raped would you vote for a law that would make them have that baby because that baby is a gift from god? >> my point of view all along, i've had this position for many years, the only exception i have for abortion is the life of the mother. >> what if it were a 13-year-old girl who were raped and impregnated. would you vote to make sure that
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in those situations you would make the girl have the baby? >> you can start throwing all kinds of hypotheticals out there. i've made my statement. >> wow. he's made his statement. and he's one of at least 12 republican senate candidates this year who would make that same statement. which it turns out has political consequences. more on that coming up. arian! yeah, i might have ears like a rabbit... but i want to eat meat! [ male announcer ] iams knows dogs love meat. ...but most dry foods add plant protein, like gluten iams never adds gluten. iams adds 50% more animal protein, [ dog 2 ] look at me! i'm a lean, mean flying machine [ dog 1 ] i am too! woo hoo! [ male announcer ] iams. with 50% more animal protein. [ dog 2 ] i'm an iams dog for life. not a rabbit. woof!
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-[ music resumes ] -music? ♪ have fun tonight dude. getting a car insurance quote. i'll let it go to voicemail. [ clears throat ] ♪ everybody wang chung tonight ♪ putting it on vibrate. [ cell phone vibrates ] -[ loud vibrating ] -it'll pass. [ vibrating continues ] our giant store and your little phone. that's progressive mobile. but don't just listen to me. listen to these happy progressive customers. i plugged in snapshot, and 30 days later, i was saving big on car insurance. with snapshot, i ew what i could save before i switched to progressive. the better i drive, the more i save. i wish our company had something this cool. you're not filming this, are you? aw! camera shy. snapshot from progressive. test-drive snapshot before you switch. visit progressive.com today. there's something that's hiding in plain sight right now on the campaign trail. let me show you. these are the seven of the
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swingiest swing states. over the last few days mitt romney has been in nevada and in iowa and in ohio and then ohio three more times and then iowa and then, yes, ohio again. that's mitt romney's travel itinerary for the last few days. but his running mate paul ryan out alone on the campaign trail, is doing something very different than that. this hasn't been getting much attention but the difference is stark. yesterday paul ryan was in midland, texas. then he left texas only to be beamed back to texas by satellite that evening for this event. for an event with former vice president dick cheney, and glenn beck. a man who is apparently a sensation on the internet now. where he sells pants. he sells glenn beck pants now. paul ryan has this week also been in georgia at two separate fundraisers in south carolina and today he was in huntsville, alabama. i think we have photos of him arriving in huntsville, alabama.
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today for a fund-raiser. tickets were up to $5,000 a pop. but that's in alabama. i mean, the election is a week from tuesday and you're in alabama? is alabama swinging this year? this is not swing state travel. all that unswing state travel and it's not preaching to the choir, it's like preaching to the mirror at this point. on the democratic ticket, the vice president has a different role to play than the president does. it is underappreciated what joe biden is doing for the democratic ticket right now, but we have some incredible footage for you that has not been seen anywhere else, which i think may help to clear up some confusion on this subject. that's our exclusive that we have got for you tonight. and that's ahead. i'm only in my 60's...
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just before halloween last year was a giant snowstorm in the northeast. kind of ruined trick-or-treating and it turned out to be the only real snow we got all year. basically it sucked. this year we're anticipating another big weather event right before halloween and it's actually looking like it might be a big enough weather event it might not just mess with halloween, it might mess with another big national thing that
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comes up less than a week after halloween this year and that's a little something you might have heard of called election day. halloween is wednesday and election day is the tuesday after that. forecasters at the national weather service have taken to calling what is upon us a frankenstorm. apparently a combination of a few different things. first and most importantly it's a hurricane. hurricane sandy. . but hurricane sandy combines with a winter storm coming out of the west and that combines further with what they describe as a blast of arctic air. a storm or a storm system or combination of storm systems that's potentially this significant is always of national significance. but in this case the frankenstorm could also be of political significance if its effect was both big enough and its damage long-lasting enough that it complicates not just early voting next week, but also potentially voting on election day itself on november 6th. there's no reason to be alarmist about this, right? but there is reason to pay attention to this storm.
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reason to pay attention to the storm no matter where you live. even if it's not going to direct you as weather it might directly affect you as politics. in the swing state of virginia, governor bob mcdonnell has already declared a state of emergency in anticipation of the frankenstorm and mitt romney has already canceled a rally set for sunday in virginia beach because of the threat of the storm. so thanks to the weather, there's even more uncertainty about what the next ten days hold in this particular swing state of virginia. there's more uncertainty there. than there is in the rest of the country and in the rest of the battleground map. that is remarkable to the point of irony. because there was already so much uncertainty about virginia. when president obama won virginia in 2008, it was more than just a big political deal. it was historic. this was the first time a democrat had won virginia in a race for the presidency since 1964. virginia had been red for more than four decades. president obama's victory in virginia in the last election reflects just a historic change.
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virginia is a state that's in flux. the political history of virginia does not tell you much about what's going to happen next in virginia, because frankly what just happened in virginia in the last election was totally unprecedented in modern history. virginia is in new territory. and then what happened after the 2008 election was still further new territory. still more change. which makes the state all the more unknowable right now. in 2009 the year after it went blue in the presidential election for the first time in 44 years, in 2009, the state decided to elect this guy, republican governor bob mcdonnell. a fairly radical conservative guy who went to pell he will advantage list pat robertson's university where he wrote his graduate thesis saying the government should use public policy to punish cohabitaters, homosexuals and fornicators. oh, my. govern mcdonnell took office in 2010 and pulled the legislature
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into republican territory with him. early this year that republican legislature came up with a fertilized egg as person bill. a bill that would ban all abortion, it would likely also ban hormonal contraception in virginia and it would ban in vitro fertilization. governor mcdonnell said he would take a look at that bill if it did end up coming to his desk. the day the bill was passed through a committee, this is what the lobby of the hearing room looked like. the area around the personhood bill was full of protesters. that was a standing-room only type of gig. there were protesters outside as well. virginia republicans also came out with their forced vaginal probe ultrasound bill this year which governor mcdonnell initially through his full support behind. hundreds of protesters turned up at the capital on the day the house was supposed to vote to take part in a silent protest. protesters lined the sidewalks so legislators would just have to see them as they walked to work. they just stood there being quiet. it was a very powerful, very
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large protest. they are making their case on two levels. first, there were a lot of people. lots of women, also some men too. and they were all willing to show up and stand there and demonstrate that they were against that forced ultrasound bill. but these were often seen and not heard on an issue where their complaint was that their voices were being ignored. their choices were being taken away. governor mcdonnell, under really heavy pressure, ultimately called for an amended version of the forced ultrasound bill that did not require that the up extra sound be the vaginal probe kind. but he did sign the final forced ultrasound bill. and from that conflict and that outcome he earned himself the national nickname "he will never shed as long as i'm alive" and that of course is governor up extra sound. this was the scene at a board of health meeting in september after govern ultrasound's administration and ken cuccinelli aggressively engineered that board that could have the effect of shutting down
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almost all the abortion clinics in virginia. virginia has been in a state of political unrest and upheaval since the 2008 elections. the political landscape is changing there. we talked about this kind of political phenomenon last night. in terms of has going on in ohio. and the same is true of a number of swing states. i think it's an underappreciated phenomenon in the way that these states are being talked about and appreciated now in these final days of the presidential race. but it's not true of every battleground state. but in some of the really important ones. in ohio, in wisconsin, in virginia, we have seen very, very, very potent partisan political conflict in the last couple of years leading up to this year's presidential race. presidential elections do not just happen in a presidential partisan vacuum. the way the parties comport themselves in each individual state has an effect on the way voters in that state think about those parties even at the national level. if you are a national candidate, one sure-fire way to tether yourself to a controversial state party is to make sure that you embody the positions from your party that caused all the
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controversy in that state in the first place. so for example when you're a guy who said you would have absolutely supported a personhood-style, fertilized egg as a person measure to ban all abortion, when you say that, you are speaking to an electorate in virginia that is frankly very fired up about that exact issue. that has been fighting against that position in their state all year. and you know maybe you could still maybe get away with holding a mitt romney position against abortion, against funding for planned parenthood, against access to contraception, maybe you could hold that position and still pitch yourself successfully to virginia voters if you carefully tack to the center in the general election, if, say, you picked a moderate running mate who is not going to reflect all the crazy rollbacks to women's health that have been proposed in that state. maybe you could get away with that. if on the other hand you picked a guy who sponsored a personhood bill for the nation, a guy whose abortion position is he would have the government force rape victims to bear their rapist's child against their will.
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a guy who co-sponsored a bill to narrow the deaf nation of rape for women seeking access to abortion. if you picked that guy to be on your ticket, a guy who doubled down on all of the things that have been so shocking to virginia in 9 past year, and you announce him as your running mate in virginia you probably going to remind virginia voters of all of the stuff they have been taking from the republicans in their state lately that has made the whole state so mad. that's why virginia is a swing state this year. i mean nobody expected virginia to be a contested race in this election. the democrats were hoping for it, but they are hoping for it and realistic democrats were not expecting it. everybody assumed it was going to revert back to its 44-year legacy as a red state after this anomalous experience in 2008. but right now, virginia is neck and neck. the last three polls in virginia show the race either tied or mitt romney up by just one or two points. and this is part of why. president obama is winning in virginia among women. winning in those polls between 5
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and 16 points. the gender gap in the persistent problem that republicans have in appealing to women because of the way republicans have governed there is having a powerful and potentially historical effect on the presidential race this year. a v! yeah, i might have ears like a rabbit... but i want to eat meat! [ male announcer ] iams knows dogs love meat. ...but most dry foods add plant protein, like gluten iams never adds gluten. iams adds 50% more animal protein, [ dog 2 ] look at me! i'm a lean, mean flying machine [ dog 1 ] i am too! woo hoo! [ male announcer ] iams. with 50% more animal protein. [ dog 2 ] i'm an iams dog for life. not a rabbit. woof!
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i think we have seen again this week, i don't think any male politician should be making health care decisions for women. >> president obama speaking in richmond, virginia, yesterday. joining us is melissa harris perry. professor of political science at tulane university. she's a columnist for the nation and host of the melissa harris perry show here on msnbc. thank you for being here. >> absolutely. >> is there a hermetically sealed bubble around presidential elections or does what happens in these swing states reflect not just the presidential election but what has happened politically in those states since '08? >> i think the story you told about virginia going blue, and a story we didn't tell quite enough on election night in 2008. in part, because like ten minutes later we called the west coast and it was over. >> then the election was over. >> so no one really paused it to take note of it. but that transition is indicative of sort of how much virginia has changed as a place.
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it's always been a border state. it's always quite different in northern virginia than somewhere else. but the fact is that the fights that we have seen there over the course of the past four years is a shifting back and forth of the republican control and then the republican control going too far, particularly on women's questions is microcosm of what's happening in the broader country. and look, it is between states at this point. it may come to ohio but it may also come to virginia. >> does governor bob mcdonnell, before he became governor, he was being talked about as potential vice presidential pick. but just as governor in that state, does his existence and his record in that state make it more or less likely that president obama will take the state? >> it's a little hard to tell. we look at the gender gap and we start sort of taking all women and putting them in the same category and saying there's a uterus uprising occurring here. but when you pull the numbers apart, the fact is there's really different sorts of women who support president obama versus other sorts of women.
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women of color are driving that gender gap. so yes, there's a gender gap, but a lot is driven by african-american women. latino women. southeast asian women who haven't forgotten george allen, who is also on the senate ticket. that suggests to me that the real question of whether or not it's going to have an impact on the presidential race is whether or not those parts of the obama for america 2012 machine are prepared to turn out those communities, and not just sort of thinking about like women as an interest group. you know, relative to these reproductive rights policies. >> what do you know about how good they are? the logistics of running a get out the vote operation don't work the same for all types of voters, right? >> right. now the virginia campaign to get out women of color and to get out voters in northern virginia is extremely good. and then there's a hurricane. and the question of whether or not those few days of the president showing up in virginia and having something to say and
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indicating how important that state is to him is kind of hard to tell from this distance. but they have been very good at exactly the communities where the women who are obama supporting women. the one place that's the challenge are college campuses. the other group of women who helped to drive this gender gap are women who have never lived in a world without access to birth control, without access to abortion services. living on the campus of the university of virginia in charlottesville and william and mary and whether or not those women show up to vote depends a lot on whether or not the young vote feels enthusiastic rather than the women vote. >> and whether campuses will be shut down because of the storm. the host of the show. melissa harris-perry. going to be a very exciting next ten days. i'm glad i'll spend it with you. thank you for being here. we'll be right back with the exclusive footage. i've been teasing you about all hour. [ female announcer ] need help keeping your digestive balance?
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it's amazing what soup can do. >> thank you mr. president. brad, i'm going to give you one more minute. >> earlier however on air force one, right when our time was up and the interview was supposed to end, the president asked to keep going. he ran through what's become his pitch. his list of principles in the current campaign ad that's airing. but then he also wanted to address how this all must look from the outside. >> it's funny. one of the things about being on the campaign trail, you're in air force one, you're in marine one, these big motorcades. michelle jokes that i've got everything but a caboose and a dog sled. behind me wherever i'm going. none of that is the presidency. the presidency is all about who's going to fight for the american people every single day, even when you've got to make tough decisions that are
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unpopular, because you have some compass about what this country is be. and -- and, you know, during the course of these four years, there are all kinds of mistakes that i've made every single day. but my compass has been true. and i've focused on what's going to bbest for the american people. >> that was how brian williams's "rock center" interview with president obama yesterday. after spending two days with brian williams, the president asked for one more minute with his interviewer. which he never does. said he wanted to say one more thing. it was that compass idea. this compass idea that president obama went out of his way to make sure he said there. the idea of the president having a compass that is true. that is basically the idea of character, of integrity. it's the idea of personal authenticity to an extent. that you know what a person stands for. that you know that person will stand for those things even when it's hard.
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because it is who they truly are. this is more than just being likable. this is the idea of personal substance that you can be counted on to do the right thing because you are who you say you are. you are not acting. this is a sort of intangible currency that campaigns are always competing for at every level. but it's particularly so at the end of big races where the people who haven't been persuaded by the more overt arguments and policy differences are the ones who are going to make the final decision. at the end of the day people who have no reason to vote one way or the other will vote for who the person they trust not to pull one over on them. that's what the birtherism is on the right. they keep with that stupid thing because it translates to the president being secretly not what he seems. right? at the end of this campaign, the trust issue is also what the obama campaign is pressing about mitt romney. not in some sort of creepy, pseudo racist birther way but more directly asking people the question whether you really believe this guy stands for anything. whether he seems authentic to you. whether you really trust that he believes what he says.
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they don't get much credit for it but the obama/biden ticket's secret weapon on the issue of authenticity and being who you purport to be, their secret weapon has always been vice president joe biden. the right has tried to make him into a caricature and a joke but it's instructive that he was able to defuse that totally at the vice presidential debate where he said yeah, sure, make fun of me all you want but i always say what i mean. which nobody can dispute. joe biden always does say what he means. and when joe biden really says what he means, when he really lets loose, it can be a very powerful thing. watch. >> people say to me now, and i wonder now, whatever gave you the courage as a 29-year-old kid
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to announce to the united states senate against a man who had an 82% favorable rating, in a year when we knew it was going to be tough. what gave you the courage to run? or some thought, what made you so foolhardy? the answer, you girls should know this, was your father. your father. i didn't know him when i announced for the senate. but i honest to god believed that i could maybe go help him end this war. i honest to god believed that. what people don't realize, had your father not been there, had your father never been in the senate, so much more blood, so much more treasure would have been wasted. the war would have never ended when it did. it would have never ended how it did. your father gave courage to people who didn't have the
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courage to speak up, to finally stand up. your father stood there and took all of that beating. your father, who was characterized by these right-wing guys as a coward and unwilling to fight, your father was a genuine hero. the irony used to make me so angry, so angry, that your father would never speak up and talk about. his heroism. your father had more physical courage in his little finger than 95% of those guys who continued to fight, to fight a war we shouldn't have fought in the first place. but because he took such a miserable beating, he actually, even though he didn't win that
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election, he won the end of the war. it would have never happened. >> that was vice president joe biden offering the eulogy last night for senator george mcgovern who was a war hero and anti-war stalwart and was the democratic party's presidential nominee in 1972. he died this weekend by the age of 90. vice president biden not only doing right by the memory of senator mcgovern but showing what has been central to his political career. which is being able to tell powerful and accessible stories that connect human beings to values and to big political ideas. that is what joe biden has always done as a politician. and it is what he does now on this campaign, as this campaign becomes more and more every day about that challenge, that compass. that issue of authenticity and values. "weekends with alex witt" starts now. breaking news on sandy, everyone

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